CAIRO – Egypt will attempt to engineer a World Cup miracle by overturning a 6-1 deficit against Ghana Tuesday night and snatch a spot in the finals in Brazil next year.
With Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon already assured of their places, there are only two remaining African slots up for grabs with Burkina Faso taking a slim 3-2 lead to Algeria in the second leg of their play-off.
Egypt have been lifted by Al Ahly's eighth African Champions League win at the expense of South Africa's Orlando Pirates this month with Mohamed Aboutrika providing the inspiration.
Aboutrika scored in both legs and he will again be looked upon to spark off a miraculous comeback against the Black Stars of Ghana.
Ghana skipper Asamoah Gyan, who scored twice in Kumasi in the 6-1 first leg mauling, will not dismiss Egypt's chances of a great comeback.
"It's football and so anything can happen," he said.
"We're in a comfortable position right now, but we need to totally focus on our job and make sure we do what we have to do to reach Brazil."
Egypt beat Zambia 2-0 in a warm-up last week and the Pharaohs coach Bob Bradley has promised to ring changes to the team from the disastrous outing in Kumasi.
Ghana's concerns over their safety in Cairo have headlined the build-up to Tuesday's fixture and it needed the intervention of world football governing Fifa to assure them they will be safe in the Egyptian capital.
The Black Stars have been strengthened with the return of fit-again Kevin-Prince Boateng and Harrison Afful, who was suspended for the first game. – Agencies
Tonight: Egypt v Ghana 6pm, Algeria v Burkina Faso 8:15pm